Albertawow

Ring Necked Pheasant  (Phasianus colchicus)

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The ring-necked pheasant is a native of Japan and southern China. It was first successfully introduced into southwestern Alberta in 1908. It soon became common throughout central and southeastern Alberta in agricultural areas of the prairie and parkland zones. Males of this species may be as long as 90 centimeters (36 inches). The hen is smaller. Summer diet includes weed seeds and insects. Winter diet consists mainly of buds and seeds. The bright colors and long, tapered tail of the male ring-necked pheasant makes this bird easily identifiable. The hen is mottled brown. In spring, the male establishes a territory where he crows and beats his wings to attract a mate while warning other males of his presence. He may attract a harem of up to 10 hens. Nests are usually concealed near fields, often in ditches or fencerows with dense cover. Six to 12 buff eggs are incubated for 25 days. Chick mortality is high, and populations are supported by release of hatchery-raised birds. In the fall, pheasants move to areas with thick cover near stubble fields or other food sources. Dense cover bordering irrigation ditches and nearby grain fields is the ideal habitat for this species. (Text information was provided by Alberta Government Resource Development.)

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